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Eugene Starr Papers, 1911-1988

By Finding aid prepared by Marci Simmons.

Collection Overview

Title: Eugene Starr Papers, 1911-1988

ID: MSS Starr

Primary Creator: Starr, Eugene Carl (1901-)

Extent: 115.0 cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The Starr Papers have received a preliminary arrangement into ten subject-specific series. Further organization within each series is forthcoming.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


Eugene Starr (1901-1988) enjoyed a widespread reputation as a distinguished scientist and engineer. A 1923 graduate of Oregon Agricultural College, he achieved international recognition for his work in the fields of electrical engineering and nuclear physics. In 1958 Starr was awarded the Department of the Interior's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, for his work with the Bonneville Power Administration. Starr's papers include personal correspondence and scientific reports, with a focus on his work in nuclear fission and the transmission of high-voltage electricity.

Scope and Content Notes

The Starr papers - containing nearly 10,000 items and occupying 38 cubic feet of space - are comprised chiefly of personal correspondence and scientific reports, with a focus on Starr's activities in the fields of nuclear fission and high-voltage transmission. Several research programs and publications headed by Starr are detailed within the collection, as are materials related to his work as a classroom instructor and consultant to organizations ranging from the United Nations to the Atomic Energy Commission. The materials in the Starr collection exemplify the practical application of scientific principals in relation to electricity, and help illustrate the peaceful use of nuclear power in the 20th century.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Dr. Eugene Starr enjoyed a widespread reputation as a distinguished scientist, brilliant engineer, and a dedicated public servant. He achieved both national and international recognition for his attainments in the fields of electrical engineering and nuclear physics, and was a pioneer in many areas of high-voltage transmission science, including the development of series and shunt capacitor applications and tests, generator characteristics, circuit breaker advances, and high-voltage transformer and cable problems.

A 1923 graduate of Oregon State University, Starr returned to teach Electrical Engineering from 1927 to 1954. From 1939 to 1954 he also served as consultant to the Bonneville Power Administration, and was its Chief Engineer from 1954 to 1961. In that position he demonstrated outstanding managerial ability and leadership during an era of rapid expansion and technological change. For his professional competence, administrative excellence and dedicated public service, Starr was granted the Department of the Interior's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, in 1958.

From the beginning of the Government's program with nuclear fission, Dr. Starr demonstrated a keen professional interest in the field. During World War II he served as consultant to the National Defense Research Committee of the Office of Scientific Research and Development as an official investigator, coordinator and supervisor of important defense projects. In 1946 he was a Civilian Scientific Observer at the Bikini atom bomb tests. Subsequently Mr. Starr was heavily involved in applying nuclear concepts to the generation of electric energy and to correlating such developments with the requirements of the Federal power system in the Pacific Northwest. Beginning in 1961 he served the Bonneville Power Administration as Consulting Engineer specializing in extra-high-voltage AC- DC transmission and in nuclear power development. He later won several prizes for his research papers in the field of high-voltage engineering and aircraft radio coordination. In 1965 he was named Engineer of the Year for Oregon.

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 235 boxes

Acquisition Note: Accessioned from Dr. Eugene Starr in Fall 1987.

Related Materials: See also: Electric Shock Induced by Lightning Stroke by Eugene C. Starr.

Preferred Citation: Eugene Starr Papers (MSS Starr), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Processing Information: Preliminary arrangement by Marci Simmons.

Other URL: A preliminary container list was created for this collection on or before November 19, 2015.


Starr, Eugene Carl (1901-)
General Electric Company
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.  Oregon State University Chapter.
International Council on Large Electric Systems
Peek, F. W. (Frank William) (1881-)
United States. Bonneville Power Administration

People, Places, and Topics

Army Specialized Training Program (U.S.)
Electric lines--Health aspects.
Electric lines.
Electric power distribution.
Electric power production--India.
Electric power production--Northwest, Pacific.
Energy conservation--Northwest, Pacific.
Engineering--Study and teaching (Higher)--Oregon--Corvallis.
History of Science
Natural Resources
Nuclear power plants--Washington (State)
Operation Crossroads, Marshall Islands, 1946.
Oregon Multicultural Archives
Oregon State College. School of Engineering
Power resources--Alaska.
Renewable energy sources.
Starr, Eugene Carl, 1901-
University History
World War, 1939-1945--War work--Schools.

Forms of Material

Ephemera (general object genre)
Film negatives.
Lantern slides.
Maps (documents)
Photographic prints.
Slides (photographs).

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.